Tuesday, October 21, 2014

More birthday fun, b-feeding and Disney on Ice

The good thing about having parents who feel a little guilty about not taking you out on your actual birthday, you get to celebrate your birthday over and over again!
Really though, we're STILL going somewhere - Disneyland! - but it will be a month and a half later.
We bought an ice cream cake to have the day of her actual birthday. But my parents were tired after her dinner so they went straight home from the restaurant rather than going back to our home. We decided to save it for when we saw them the next day.
She LOVED Happy Birthday being sang to her. Again.
The awesome thing about maternity leave? Spending tons of time with this little mister. We are inseparable ... because I'm his sole food source. This time around, the hormones aren't raging nearly as hard and the physical recovery was so much easier. These two things make it a lot easier to enjoy being together all day, every day. During the more trying times, I remember that this is my last baby. I won't have another cuddlebug until my kids bless me with a grandchild. Whoa, right? I see other family and friends' children growing up so fast and I realize that these kiddos of mine aren't going to want to crawl into bed with me and cuddle in a few years. I mean, I surely don't do that to my parents:p So I will enjoy this time because it is fleeting.
Those cheeks! And yes, The Bean is yanking on my hair.
I debated putting this next photo in. I'm a somewhat reserved individual. But you know what? There is nothing shameful about breast feeding. In fact, I'm proud to be able to do it because it is a tricky thing to figure out and, by golly, I did it. TWICE. There is something peaceful and soothing about breast feeding for both the baby and the mom. And, when I'm exhausted, and he breaks away and smiles at me, he makes me smile. This is what I see several times a day and during this time, especially when we can be home and relaxed, the world slows down a little and we're at peace, together.

Love how I can soothe (and feed!) him so easily. Then there are other times when he is congested or in a mood and it is not nearly as serene!
I like this next photo because it shows just how much The Bean looks like The Man. When our daughter was a baby, he saw so much of himself in her. A few other people did too but, for the most part, the majority thought she looked like me. And as she gets older, more and more people say that. Now, even though I can't be completely objective, I think she is a good mix of the two of us. But she is a girl with long hair so quite a few people comment that she is my MiniMe. Well, now The Man has his MiniMe:) I swear, every time I post a photo on Facebook and whenever people just see him, people exclaim that he looks just like his Daddy. At first, The Man thought it was because baby boy has a bit of a temper;) But, happy or sad, sleepy or mad, this kid looks like him:
This look right here? Soooooo The Man. I've been on the receiving end many times. *sigh*
The Bun recently had a fantastic review by her her Transitional Kindergarten teacher. It was my first Parent Teacher Conference I had a few concerns from things she has told me. The Bun told me she doesn't have friends at TK and mainly hung out by herself:( It made me sad to think that she walked around the classroom during free time, all by herself. This is what she told me! I felt so bad for my poor little girl. Especially since she was little Miss Popular at her preschool.
Her teacher said great things about her. She said that The Bun is studious, polite and social. Her teacher made it a point to tell me that while The Bun can get chattering when provoked, she isn't one of the instigators. Good enough! I told her what The Bun said to me about being a loner and she said that The Bun had quite a few friends. While I don't think she has as much fun in TK than she did in preschool, it's probably because it's a much more structured environment and that might be why she thinks she doesn't have friends - there's not a ton of free time TO play since they're three hours are packed with learning, learning, learning.
She then went over The Bun's academic growth and said that The Bun met half of the requirements going into TK and should move on to Kindergarten with flying colors by the end of the year.
We needed to celebrate! I happened to have a friend who gave me 4 vouchers to Disney on Ice. Yay! Didn't tell The Bun anything but to wear one of her princess dresses. We drove to San Jose and guess what? The vouchers weren't valid on the weekend. But there was no way we were turning back so I paid for the tickets (they did give us 20% off) and we entered the arena.
She kind of had an idea but since she had never attended an ice show. The Bun knew it was Disney-related but not much else:
How cute is she in her Belle gown?
The next day we went on a Mommy double date and had tea. She got to wear another dress:
Same tiara but wearing her Cinderella dress. She has a LOT of Disney dresses.
It can't be easy being a new big sister. She has to share attention and has more responsibilities now. I continue to be impressed by The Bun. I'm so proud of her because we have really high expectations of her and she rises to the occasion every time. She has the biggest heart, is so caring, intelligent and clever. With a sprinkle of sass;)
My most favorite girl in the whole wide world.



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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday to the Bun

To my lovely and wonderful daughter,
I cannot believe you're already 5! For me, there isn't Father Time, rather, it feels like Daughter Time. Because watching you grow really shows me how much time has passed.
We were supposed to go to Hawaii this year for your birthday. I think I'm more disappointed than you that we didn't go:p You had changed your mind mid-year and wanted to go to Disneyland instead.
Daddy headed up the planning process this year since we had to work around his schedule. Well, time got away from him. Plus Daddy wasn't comfortable taking Evan on a plane with us for Hawaii and he wasn't progressing in sleeping through the night where we felt comfortable leaving him behind. In your Dad's eyes, that left Disneyland. But next thing he knew, your birthday was right around the corner and we had no plans.
Then, a week before your birthday, your Auntie Margie said her family was going to Disneyland next month. How fantastic! You love spending time with your twin cousins and Disneyland would be even more fun with them. So we decided we would go when they do in November.
But we felt bad that you weren't going on a trip on your birthday:( So we tried to make it extra special for you. Daddy bought a bunch of decorations and we set them up in the wee hours of your birthday morning:

We decorated your doorway and the staircase so you would feel like your birthday was a huge deal to us (it is!) You were very surprised and happy when you saw them-
Ah, let me back track. Before you saw the decorations, I woke you up by singing Happy Birthday and lighting a candle nestled in one of your favorite treats...a chocolate donut! With pink sprinkles, to boot! You blew out the candle, I gave you your birthday crown and we walked hand in hand down the stairs. That's when you saw the decorations.
You sat down at the kitchen table, I cut up your donut and asked you to pose:
Then you got ready for school. Afterwards, I asked you to pose on the staircase so we could capture your special day:
You went off to TK, rocking that birthday crown of yours. I love your school and think their birthday practice of celebrating birthdays monthly in class is a good one. But I just wish they had at least sang happy birthday to you. It was OK, though, I planned for just the two of us to go out for lunch and shop. Evan stayed behind with Grandma while I picked you up and whisked you to your destination of choice-the mall.
You crack me up. You love the mall even though your Dad and I don't care much for it. [Side note: I have fallen back in love with the mall now that 1) we live near a nice one and 2) I'm taking care of a fresh baby again. A morning stroll in the mall during a weekday is almost therapeutic! Like Target. Mmm, Target.] So when I asked you where you wanted to go and gave the mall as an option, you jumped all over it.
There's this restaurant smackdab in the mall that sells sushi, cafeteria-style. I suppose a modern take on the sushi boat style but with a conveyor belt instead. Truth be told, your dad and I thought the sushi wouldn't be that good whenever we passed by but you always looked at it longingly. Since today was your day, that's where we ate!
Unfortunately, your mommy & daddy were right. (Won't be the last time, kiddo.) But you loved it! We sat at the bar and you grabbed what you thought you would like: California roll and Japanese crackers:) The service, while kind, was mediocre to neglectful. I had to ask multiple times for things. But there was a conveyor belt of food! So you adored it. Our waitress also stuck a candle on the (mediocre) strawberry shortcake we ordered. Yet another opportunity for me to sing happy birthday to you:)
Because of your birthday crown, people we came across throughout the mall warmly gave birthday wishes to you. I'm sure it was also because you looked absolutely darling with your curls and soft spoken manner. You're a reserved individual who doesn't like to be the center of attention but you do like some;) So it was perfect how sales people and random moms were approaching you, wishing you happy birthday and saying you looked like a princess.
Part of our mission for the day was to find a blue dress for you for our upcoming photo shoot. We found one you approved of along with marching mary janes! You were so pleased to pick it out yourself. You patiently waited while I also got your brother, a few Christmas presents and a dress for myself for an upcoming wedding. I think that's going to have to be my next blog entry: my first dress post-baby and my first cocktail dress purchase in years!
I bought you a hot cocoa, split a 7 later bar with you and got you a See's chocolate to round out the day of decadence. And to make up for the not-so-stellar lunch. We then went home because I really needed to feed your brother!
A couple of hours later, your Papa & Nana came over to celebrate your birthday by having dinner. Grandma was staying with us so you had all your grandparents here. It had been tradition to eat at a Japanese restaurant near our old home for your 1st, 2nd & 3rd birthdays (we had gone to Disneyland for your 4th.) But it was a half hour away now instead of less than 10 minutes. We gave you the option of a local ice creamery or sushi and you said sushi. Yes, even though you just had it for lunch:) We headed out to our new local sushi restaurant. It's one of two favorite restaurants we have in our town so I wasn't sure if you would feel like it was a special outing. But it's rare to get all of us together so I believe you knew it was special.
You were sang to again:
And you loved it:
When I tucked you in at night, I asked you what your favorite part of the day was. You said the sushi lunch! Ah, goes to show what you get a kick out of. I'm also very glad I didn't complain about the food in front of you (I did tell you Daddy about it later. And then he smiled when I told him much later that it ended up being your favorite part of the day!) Your second favorite part were the decorations. Your third favorite was waking up and having a donut. Again, you crack me up:)
I hope you know how very special you are to me and Daddy and how much we love you. It's been a big year in terms of change and I know our attention is now divided. You also started a brand new school and after school program, both with much larger groups of kids than what you've ever had before. But you continue to impress me with your adaptability and grace. I wish I had infinite patience because you deserve it. I continue to work on it:)
You are lovely, beautiful inside and out, smart, funny, sassy and incredibly kind. You are my favorite girl in the whole wide world. I LOVE YOU.



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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Catch up

Props to the mamas who find time to blog because I find it very challenging!
The past few weeks, in a nutshell:
Sister came to visit and help. It was lovely. I feel blessed to have a supportive sibling who takes time out of her life to help out. I'm truly thankful because she is also the person who told our Dad that enough was enough. He had been fighting an infection in his foot for months. Since May. He had been seeing doctors, most recently a dermatologist who his general physician referred. Thank God, when my sister saw that our dad was cutting the bottom of his jeans, she insisted he call his doctor or go to the ER - his choice. Of course, he wanted to do neither but she made him decide. The on-call doctor said he wanted my dad to go to the ER. Long story short, his doctors were treating the infection as if it was dermatological when, in fact, it was cardiovascular.
Who knows how long it would have gone if my sister hadn't forced my dad to take action. This made me upset because we thought my dad and his doctors were doing their due diligence. But, bless his heart, my Dad was taking a very passive role and waiting for his doctors to contact him and, come to find out, he wasn't being very honest in the severity of the pain and symptoms.
As a child, you hope your parent will be an advocate for his/her own health. But it looks like we've reached a point in our lives where my sister and I have to take a more active role. We love our parents so much and it's frightening to think that they may not think to do what is the best interest of their health:( My parents are great about seeing their doctors. But if their doctors aren't on top of it (which it looks like a couple of my dad's doctors were NOT), it's a bit frightening because I don't think my parents are comfortable questioning or second guessing them. My dad is the type of guy that if his doctor's office says the will call to schedule an appointment but then doesn't - which has happened - he will wait until they call him because he figures that if they're not calling him, it must not be that serious. Then there's me who has been forgotten by doctors or vendors sometime during my life so I know that, most likely if they didn't call me it's because they forgot. My dad sees that as nagging:p
Because my sister saw first-hand our dad down-playing his pain and symptoms, we gave him an ultimatim - either our mom or I will go with him to his future doctor's appointments. I pray that this will work and he will allow my mom (or I) to accompany him. He will be 80 years old and he just doesn't have the immune system to mess around with this kind of nonsense.
Here is The Bun visiting her Papa in the hospital:
He was in the hospital for four days. 
On to happier updates ...
The Bun, along with my sister since she was in town, accompanied me to a swim lesson two weeks ago. While I was taking my lesson, my sister said that The Bun was itching to join me in the water. So much so that my sister had to distract her by showing her a swing set out of view from the pool because The Bun really wanted to jump in.
This was news to me since I had enrolled her in group swim classes last year and she abruptly quit them. Didn't say why but she was clearly disinterested in the whole ordeal. My parents and I chalked it up to her becoming bored.
As I mentioned in my Tahoe entry, I was inspired to learn how to swim so private lessons were what I was going to treat myself to during maternity leave. As luck would have it, there was another teacher available at the same time as my lesson so we would be able to take lessons together. Come to find out, it is quite a pretty penny to have private lessons:p Not sure how long we'll keep them up but I booked us weekly lessons until the end of the year. And, seriously, how could I deny this cutie?

Here is a fantastic drawing from The Bun for my sister's 49th birthday. I cannot explain to you how awesome it is but just trust that it is:) Let's just say that children, especially my precocious little girl, notice everything. My sister l-o-v-e-d this drawing and said that she planned on framing it when she returns home.
My parents, her Papa & Nana, are at the top. Then there's a big Hello Kitty (no explanation other than The Bun IS a little Asian girl). At the bottom is my sister with awesome round glasses, one of our pups, The Bun, Me, The Man and our other pup. When I asked her, The Bun didn't have an explanation as to why The Bean is missing. But she swears she loves him:)
Ah, I'm glad my sister captured this next photo. When I had The Bun nearly five years ago, I had some major baby blues. My mom swooped in like it was nothing and came over to my home 40+ hours a week to help. We joked that it was her pro-bono work upon retirement. In all seriousness, she was a God sent during a tough time for me. This time around, this mama is blessed to not have baby blues. Hallelujah! But my mom (& dad, as her driver) still come around, just not all day, every day. They come twice a week and help out with the kiddos.
Well, maybe it's because they don't have as much time together but it's taken my mom a little bit to figure out how to appease The Bean. I know that when he's hollering or crying, my mom really wishes she knew how to make him happy the way she knew how to calm The Bun.
Well, last week, they finally clicked:
Mission accomplished, Nana! You figured out how to put him at ease. And to sleep!:)
This next photo has to be my favorite. I know that I've had many blessings lately. This time around, The Man took nearly seven weeks off after I gave birth! We timed it perfectly for my sister to visit right when he went back to work. So, for nine weeks, I've had a partner to tag team with when it came to the kiddos. Well, this week, it was time I finally flew solo. And let me just say that I am so impressed by The Bun.
My little girl has had a lot of change these past few weeks. In addition to a baby brother, she also started Transitional Kindergarten which is quite different than preschool. Expectations of her being more mature are certainly higher. We are also in the (long) process of night time potty training. And, as if we couldn't throw more things her way, her dad recently went back to work and then we had my sister visit. We could tell that while The Bun has been in sunny spirits, she is a bit stressed. She has had some potty accidents during the day which isn't something that has happened in a very long time.
The reason I'm proud of her is because, despite all these new things being thrown at her, she is determined to be a big helper. She gets up early with minimal coaxing because she knows how much I need her to stick to the schedule. She gets through her morning routine much faster than I ever anticipated because, again, she doesn't require the constant reminders that she had needed before when it was just her I had to get ready. The Bun gets dressed, eats her breakfast, brushes her teeth and then wants to play with her brother. I asked her to entertain him while I got ready. She's been doing so wonderfully that I asked her if she would like to hold him. It lasted all of two minutes but still ... I can tell her brother already loves her to the moon and back:
I loooooove this little girl and baby boy!
Oh man, I've been desperate for things to entertain The Bean. He doesn't really dig the play floor mat I bought (but I'm determined to not give up!) He also doesn't care for the vibrating chair that his sister loved. What to do? Well, a friend had this cool swing at her house and when I put The Bean in it, he was able to stay for over 10 minutes in it! Do you mean that there is something that exists that could actually help entertain him so I could get ready in the morning? SOLD! Well, almost. It costs $140. Um, to use for less than year? This mama doesn't have an unlimited cash supply. But thank goodness for mommy groups on Facebook! I posted that I was in search of a swing and included a photo. A woman tagged another woman who then let me know she was selling it. We agreed on $75 and I was able to get it within 24 hours! Again, how cool are these FB mommy groups?
And here is my guy enjoying "The Cadillac of baby swings":
He loves it! He doesn't pass out for hours but I'll take the precious minutes it buys me to do chores, get myself ready or *gasp* fit in a nap!
The greatest anxiety I have about going back to work is who will take care of The Bean? I was fortunate enough to find a great after school program for The Bun. I mean, not only does she love this program but they even do pick up so I don't have to worry about her going from TK to this after school program! But what about The Bean?
Well, my mom has offered to care for him. But, as previously mentioned, my parents have ailments. I don't know if watching him full-time is possible but that's our best option right now. But, logistically, while my parents are saving us a ton of money, we still have to figure out how to get him there. The Man seems to be the only viable solution but he goes to work super early and his work vehicle isn't always empty enough to fit a car seat. There may be times where The Man will have to pass my parents house and go home only to switch cars and then go back to my parents' house. That adds 45-60 minutes to his commute. And, honestly, puts him in a bad mood. But what to do? The Bun has to be in school at 8:25 AM. And because they're so little, parents can't just drop TK-ers off. Us parents get out of our car and wait for the classroom to open (the teacher doesn't open her classroom early, it's always just on time.) This means the earliest I get to work will be 8:45 AM and my employer ideally would like me there by 8:30 AM. If I have to drop off The Bun and The Bean, that will add 40 minutes to my commute and I would be at work by 9:10 AM if there's NO traffic. Not at all ideal. 
But we will figure it out. Because that is what parents do, right? We figure it out.
Because they're WORTH it.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Bean looks oddly like ...

Nacho Libre.


But much cuter❤️

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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Tahoe!

This is big for me ... we went on a road trip last weekend! It's a big deal because I was on pins and needles when I was a first-time mama. There was no way I would've been down to do this. While I'm still a creature of habit and love the safety of my home, I planned a trip to Lake Tahoe to attend a friend's wedding and by golly, we did it. Arghhhhh!!!

I learned a few tidbits on this trip. One, if we're able, we will stay in nicer accommodations. I picked a decent albeit dated lodge that was rated 4 1/2 stars on Yelp! While it was tidy enough, somewhere along the way in our lives, The Man and I had become germaphobes. Nope, I know exactly when it happened - when we had kids. When we repeatedly yelled, "Don't drop your blanket on the floor!" (replacing blanket with just about any other belonging) or "Don't touch that, we don't know when it's really been deep cleaned!", it's just not suitable. Places that were fine and dandy in our youth are not up to snuff now that we have kids. And let me tell you, we were not at all snobs back in our day. I remember staying in some hotels with friends in which I felt more comfortable wearing slippers than going barefoot. And I just thought, eh, that's OK. Not anymore, especially now that we'll have a crawler on our hands soon! 

The second thing I learned is that I should just pay the extra bucks to stay on the beach. I saved probably $20/night by staying in a room across the street from the lake. And, again, while that would have been well and good for us in our 20s, it wasn't nearly as convenient as one would think. I know that if we had stayed lakeside, The Bun would've been able to play at the beach much more than the few minutes she spent playing there between the ceremony and reception:/ Ah well, live and learn! Oh yes, the last thing I discovered was that I should not have spend the extra money to have a room with a kitchenette. I thought we would cook at least a couple of meals in the 2 1/2 days we stayed there but we did not. Maybe if we had stayed a week but we didn't use the kitchen at all. We did use the fridge but that can be found in most hotel rooms.

Funny how these tidbits all had to do with lodging! By no means are we big spenders. But with all the worrying we did, we now know it's worth it to "invest" in nicer accommodations. We will literally sleep better at night.

As for the wedding, it was gorgeous. I was impressed by how much thought my friend and her husband put into it all. And how much their families helped. It was one of the nicest weddings I've attended. And Tahoe! Oh my goodness. The Man and I had been to Tahoe plenty of times but we hadn't been since 2003 or 2004. And the only times we went were during the winter for the snow. Oh my word, Tahoe is absolutely breathtaking in the summer! And it appears everyone there is outdoorsy! We saw numerous cyclists, lots of stand up paddlers, kayakers, windsurfers ... just about every summer activity. And every age group! I saw numerous active older adults and retirees that had to be much more fit than I.

And I had no idea the sand was so powdery. With flecks of gold! I don't know if it's imported but it's gorgeous. So much of the vibe reminded me of North Shore on Oahu. Just about everyone was sun-kissed wearing some sort of swim gear. And the majority of people just looked healthy. 

Another funny thing to note: The Man and I love beaches. But we don't do any water sports. He always mentioned how we should take up something like surfing or kayaking and I have to remind him how I basically only know how to dog paddle and float. And that's in calm waters. There's no way in hell I could do anything in the ocean. Well, after him yet again making a comment when we saw so many people stand up paddle boarding, I decided to do something about it. On our way home, I Yelped swim places back home and I signed up for swim lessons! I'm not striving to be a competitive swimmer but I want to feel confident and comfortable being in choppy waters. I'm excited I'm finally doing something about it! 

It was a great weekend. Thankful to The Man for driving and for being in every sense of the word my partner when it comes to taking care of our children. And I'm thankful for our minivan. Yes, that's right! Those suckers are comfortable and we packed everything we could possibly need. Can't do that traveling by plane!

It was so wonderful to be able to bring the kids to Lake Tahoe for the first time and I would love to return next summer. And stay at the resort where my friend married!




I couldn't believe how gorgeous the sand was. Although it wasn't white, the softness rivaled our most favorite beaches on Hawaii.






Excited to let loose after the ceremony and before the reception!
(Sadly, the only time she played on the beach the entire weekend.)




3/4 of the fam because 1/4 was sleeping in his carseat at our feet;)




Wished we could've stayed in Tahoe longer.
Here's The Bun enjoying some sun at a cafe / board rental place.




The Man took these gems while we were taking a shower. He cracks me up. And yes, that is my baby foaming at the mouth.




The Man sympathy-crying. I'm glad he didn't sympathy-drool too.




Had to add these even though they were taken at home. Piko never got this close to The Bun when she was a baby. Maybe they've forged a special bond!




He is just lovely.




He flashes smiles in his sleep. But they are fast to disappear! A miracle I caught one of them.






Thursday, August 28, 2014

Preschool to TK

Dear Bun,

It's been all about your baby brother lately, hasn't it? You've been such a good sport. I don't sense jealously, rather, just you trying to figure out how you fit.
Yesterday was your first day at your after school care. It's a big deal since you will spend about 6 hours there every weekday once I go back to work. Anyway, one of the teachers, the one who picks you up from TK, stopped us when he saw us park and walk to the entrance.
He told us that you are one of the sweetest, most polite TKers he has met. He said you have wonderful manners and use "please" and "thank you" more than any other TKer he's come across. He ended it by telling us, "Whatever you're doing, you're doing right."
We felt so proud as we walked away. But the credit doesn't just go to us. The village who helps raise you deserves credit too. It started with (and is still!) me and your Daddy, includes your Papa & Nana, included Monique (your first day care provider), then your preschool teachers and now includes your TK & after school teachers.
Most of all, YOU deserve credit. You've always had this sweet, quiet and reserved way about you. You don't command a room, rather, you work it;) Maybe that's not even accurate. Because you genuinely care about people. You want everyone to "be your best friend" and even though people perceive you as shy, I've seen you walk up to kids and ask them to play with you.
You're confused and rightfully hurt when you encounter a child who doesn't want to be your best friend or play with you. You know what? They're loss. Because they will not find a truer friend than you. And when you do make those friends, like your friend Dylan, and I see how kind and loyal you are to one another, it fills my heart.
Like your daddy told you yesterday when you shared how one girl didn't want to be your best friend, you definitely don't have to be friends with everyone. In fact, you won't be friends with everyone. But the friends you will make are going to be great. You have so much love and light in you. Your family and friends are blessed to have you in our lives.
I know it's not easy some days. You want attention and we're giving a lot to your baby brother. Not to mention we give him a lot of our patience too! But know that we LOVE you and are such a treasure.
Love you, baby.




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Friday, August 22, 2014

My schedule is dictated by a 1 month old

What?! The Bean is already 1 month? My schedule couldn't be more simple yet time is just flying by.
I wish I blogged more. But it's hard to fit in. I remembered how much down time there was while on maternity leave. I stupidly (mis-)remembered it as free time. I had plans of small fixer upper home tasks, organization and cleaning I wanted to do.
Barely any of it has happened because my time is not my own. But you know what? I'm BLESSED. Even though it's just now that I'm only spotting (oh, the bleeding. And soreness!) And my chest just finally starting to get used to being "workin' boobs" (People hardly talk about how painful it is in the beginning to breast feed, which is a shame because a woman needs to prepare herself!) All of this is worth it. Because I feel absolutely blessed we were able to have one more child.





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